No matter how you feel about them, meetings are a part of many professional lives. This is especially true for business owners or leaders. Those who have attended their fair share of meetings know there are good and worthless meetings.

Ideally, if you’re running a business meeting, you want yours to be part of the former category. To help increase these odds, one should aim to run meetings as effectively as possible. Here are a few tips on how to do so.

Clear Objectives

First and foremost, every good business meeting should have clear objectives. A meeting without a purpose is more likely to be a waste of time and won’t be an effective or efficient meeting.

When planning a meeting, don’t forget to consider key elements, such as the desired outcome, objective, or goal. Likewise, consider what type of meeting you want (brainstorming? Informative? Updating? planning?), as this will help with planning.

Plan the Agenda

Next, take the time to plan the meeting’s agenda. That is to say, plan what will happen during the meeting. This includes general timeframes for each part of the meeting. By setting time constraints for each element of the meeting, you can help ensure that the meeting stays on track.

An effective meeting agenda can act as a guide throughout the meeting. It will help the meeting host stay organized and focused on the objective. In other words, it helps keep the meeting practical.

Meeting Action Items

Meeting action items are another effective yet underutilized method for meetings. Once a meeting is completed, these action items help everyone understand their goals and responsibilities. For example, if a particular task must be done following the meeting, ensure it is assigned and clearly outlined.

Encourage Participation

Last, there’s the need to keep employees and attendees invested in the meeting. The best way to do this is by encouraging participation. Meetings that have only one person talking are more likely to cause everyone else to tune out. To prevent this, leave room for questions and open the floor for talking. These simple steps can help promote active listening and ensure everyone walks away from the meeting feeling informed.